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Alaska’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 30 Jul 2009

Location: On The Road III

MapToday, Thursday, we began at a slow pace, knowing we did not have too far to drive. However, we DID know we wanted to hike (me, Tracy, and Sam) up to Columbia Glacier and take the Gondola up the mountain in Banff. We drove 60 miles to Jasper for a great breakfast at Buckles Restaurant & Saloon….eggs, bacon, hasbrowns, toast OR omelettes OR French toast and bacon. On the way, we saw 2 moose grazing in the pond grasses and 1 bull elk in the same place we saw 3 yesterday. After eating, we headed down the Icefield Parkway (through the center of the parks). Columbia Glacier was our first big stop after stopping for momentary shots of scenery and mountain goats on the roaad. We hiked up as far as we could taking pictures along the way of the points of recession over the years from 1935 to 1992. One signs said that ‘Since 1885, the glacier has receded, advanced, and receded again over 60% of its original size’. Once we got to the end of the trail, we found hikers were no longer allowed on the glacier like Nick & I were back in 2005. As it turns out, a swift flowing river melt runs just below the terminus of the glacier and signs are posted all over the place of the danger. One boy with his family in 2001 July 4th, fell in a crevasse and died. We took many pictures though, and enjoyed a little exercise. We kept trekking down the Icefield Parkway, stopped for lunch at a lodge we had stayed at in 2005, and ventured on to Lake Louise. Not so fast! Just a few miles down the road, a major accident had taken place….a motorcycle fatality with a truck and car. This accident caused traffic to stop and come to a stand still for hours. We have been told it would be 5 hours. It has currently been 2 ½ hours as we sit in a line of cars and children playing in the street, the forest, people skateboarding on the highway, campers setting up their campsites off the side of the road…..we are all just one big happy family waiting for one lane to open. We suspect the cars are backed up for miles on both sides and there is no where to go as the nearest highway would take you many miles out of your way.